Saturday, May 12, 2007

Running on Automatic

No, I'm not referring to the Roomba (I still have some video to edit for that blog entry). This is something more serious.

I was researching scripting languages and started looking at Basic compilers and interpreters. The main reason I was looking at Basic is because the Basic programming language is the one I know best. Among many other trial and demo versions I downloaded was one called IBasic Professional. I ruled it out as it wasn't what I was looking for at that stage - a professional Basic compiler costing $75.

During my research I was surprised just how many Basic compilers and interpreters are available. See this List of Basic-like language compilers for Windows at mindteq. Some are free (thinBasic and XBLite), while others cost up to $400 or more (the multi-platform RealBasic)
For the difference between compilers and interpreters see compilers at Wikipedia). There is also an article on the Indiana University Knowledge Base.

Among the Basic compilers and interpreters, some products are actively supported and others are either abandoned or just no longer supported.

This brings me back to IBasic Professional. One way of checking if a development tool (or in fact, a wide range of software) is any good is to have a look at the User Forums. The IBasic Pro User Forum was not available but had the following cryptic message "Closed until further Notice. Read the message on to see why":

Read the message on to see why

My curiosity piqued, I just had to look at, which turns out to be a user forum for an assortment of programming languages from Java to Delphi. I could not find out much information without first registering for the CodingMonkeys forums - something I would not normally bother with (you want me to register on your forums just to be able to read them without restrictions?), but I was curious.

After a few searches on the CodingMonkeys forums I found out two things:
1. The IBasic Pro forums had been hacked over six months ago
2. "IBasic is a dead product. The site is automated and will probably continue to run, as a ghost, for a long time come" (from the developer of IBasic Pro)

Whether IBasic Pro could still be purchased on the website I don't know - but I had been able to download the 15 day trial version.

If you go through the purchase process, it says:

Free updates (from who?), free priority technical support (from who?)

Free updates (from who?), free priority technical support (from who?) and maybe they mean CodingMonkeys as their "active programming community"

I wouldn't recommend buying IBasic Pro from their website, since no-one is home. I have also seen some online software vendors selling IBasic Pro for around $45, but who wants an unsupported, abandoned compiler?


Cameron said... has no official ties to any programming language. It is run by a prevous admin of the Community forum at They arn't just a furum however dure to the state of the internet these days with hacking/leeching etv they've had to inpose security for posting of comments etc. They have opened up their site a little allowing guest access to some areas. but to get into most of the areas you do still need to become a member as any code that does appear in the forums is copywrite by the posters of that code. and one has to agree to the terms and conditions of using that code in their own projects. So as you can see they do have a ligitimate reason to have certian restrictions in place.
That being said its a very friendly and helpful group of people to chat with. and a nice place to hang out and get ideas and help with your coding projects

David said...

Thanks for you mention of the XBLite compiler, now at version 2.40. I've moved XBLite to a new website and added an online forum.